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cropped church

Photo by G. Easterbrook

Linda’s prompt for SoCs: acquaint and/or friend

“Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace . . .” Those don’t sound like the words one would expect to hear at a wedding, but, in fact, these words were sung at my wedding, lo, these many years ago. (I find myself wanting to insert an emoticon here, which is a disturbing development: surely the purpose of writing with words is to communicate without resorting to crude graphics? But I digress, as is wont to happen when I embark on a Stream-of-Consciousness prompt.)

Why, you may ask, did I choose to have the song “Acquaint Now Thyself with Him” sung at my wedding, when Michael Head‘s setting of Job 22:21 is more fittingly performed at a funeral? When I asked my friend Tim if he would sing at the wedding, he had recently sung the song at a funeral, if I remember aright, but there is the key word: “recently.” Because he had performed the song recently, it was ready to go. And it worked well enough as an opening song, setting the mood for a moment of quiet reflection — before my husband and I tied the knot — and encouraging us to take time to pray before the ceremony.

Truthfully, I don’t remember praying before the ceremony: what I do remember is standing in a strange little room just off the sanctuary, listening to the music. The church that we were members of didn’t have an actual building at the time my husband and I were married, so my mother and I found this lovely white church — more like a chapel, really — to rent. While the church itself was air-conditioned (which was good, since our wedding took place on a sunny August afternoon), that little room was humid; the church was an older one and even had a log building on the premises where the original congregation had met; maybe that strange side room didn’t benefit from the central air conditioning system?

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Photo by G. Easterbrook

At any rate, I remember standing back there before the ceremony, because I wanted not only to hear Tim but to hear the string quartet composed of my four younger siblings. It’s a sad thing about weddings: even though the bride may be involved in choosing the pre-ceremony music, she is not positioned to hear any of the music until she herself enters. So, while another song was performed by my college roommate in the middle of the ceremony (“My Heart, Ever Faithful”), if I wanted to hear Tim’s solo or the strings, I was going to have to risk melting my makeup and wilting my hair in the heat.

I still don’t regret my choice, by the way. Far more importantly, I don’t regret choosing to marry my husband that day! Many years have passed since we stood in that idyllic white church on the edge of town, but I would go back in a heartbeat and take those vows again tomorrow. It seems almost as if it were yesterday, but that is the way my memory works: milestone events take on a sharpness and an intensity that the day-to-day doings don’t have. (I’ve found that I recall special trips with a similar sharpness.) I can still see my bridesmaids, lined up in their blue dresses, and the two ministers smiling at us.

The older minister was a family friend, so I remember his beaming, kindly face particularly well. He passed away from an unexpected illness a few years ago, but in his lifetime he was one of those people who made friends everywhere he went. As an adult who has struggled with forming new friendships, once I was out of “school mode,” I see what a gift the ability to make friends is. At one time in my life, I valued intelligence and honesty above almost everything else, but now? Now, if I could ask for a gift, I might ask for the gift of friendliness.

What enables people to become friends, I wonder? As I thought about the word “acquaint,” I also reflected on how I met my friend Tim (he who suggested a funeral song for my pre-wedding music). My sophomore year, he had transferred to the small college that I attended. It was the age of preppy clothes, and I first noticed him because his clothes were the essence of all that was preppy: navy and green; pastel oxford-cloth, button-down shirts; docksiders. (Not to boast, but my own clothes didn’t rate too shabbily on the preppy scale.)

I really think it was my roommate (who also sang at the wedding) who effected the friendship? She was also a friendly person — the sort of person who could talk to anyone with ease. (Once again, I failed to appreciate what a valuable quality this was, at the time.) Tim was also in the English Renaissance literature class that I took, along with two other good friends, and it wasn’t long before we were fast friends, brought closer by similar tastes and, perhaps even more important, a similar sense of what was important and what was not in life.

Happy days, happy times. And who realized, at the time, that we wouldn’t always have hours to devote to reading and writing poetry? singing in choir? practicing the piano? taking long walks? conversing late into the night about issues with a capital I and truth with a capital T? Yet, distanced from the fevered pace of college days, I don’t mind having traded in my dreams of fame and fortune for a song of peace.

Love Is in Da Blog

Badge by @Doobster at Mindful Digressions

Badge by @Doobster at Mindful Digressions

Rules for Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday event are here. In February, Linda collaborated with Bee on “Love Is in Da Blog.” Thinking back, I am grateful for the musicians, family, and friends who helped make my wedding such a lovely and joyous day. Many thanks to those who ironed tablecloths, made food, helped clean up or set up, prepared music, helped with programs, or came to celebrate with us.